A Winning Friday at MacWorld Expo

CORRECTIONS FIRST. The proper marketing phrase for the Transporter is “On-line but off-cloud.” Your data resides on your Transporter. And your Transporter is in your home, not on the cloud. You can easily access your Transporter data from the web.

macworld-2014-droboI WON I WON I WON!!! I won a Drobo Gen3. Lots of redundantly protected data storage. I don’t expect to win drawings. Heck, I only buy a lottery ticket a few times per decade. The Drobo will be shipped to me. Drobo is a great product for those of us who need to manage large amounts of data. What do I do with this? With great storage, there must also come great responsibility! Cousin Ben had a great idea: rip all my DVDs to it.
macworld-2014-fallon-jonesI met teen author Fallon Jones again at the PhatWare booth (handwriting software for your tablet). Years ago, I ran into a young girl writer at MacWorld, and I bought her vampire novel, Bite Me. Now she’s all grown up at nineteen. Grown up in that she has written a few books, putting old farts like me to shame! I bought her latest book, The Lasarus Serum, off Amazon while talking with her. I love indie author spirit!

I tried the Avegant Glyph mobile personal theater. Reminds me of the 5D glasses that will be in my novel, a totally immersive experience.

Also, you wanna add PCIe cards to your Macintosh, like putting a graphics card on your MacMini? Consider plugging a MaxExpansion cube into your Thunderbolt port.

STUFF I BOUGHT:

macworld-bakboneA BakBone to help me hold my iPad during open mic readings. It is a detachable holder for tablets, see how I wear it like a ring? The nice lady towering next to me worked at the booth. She is six feet tall, was even taller in her high heels, and she lifts weights. She told me to feel her bicep. Hard as a rock. I told her about my superheroine Holly, who is also tall, blonde, and strong. I gave her a card, maybe this lady will send me some advice on the perspective of tall women (like if they are asked about basketball).

A Powerocks Magicube 1200 external battery for my iPad, phone, and other USB-powered stuff. More power than my older HyperJuice plug (12,000mAh vs. 10,400mAh) and smaller.

macworld-2014-bluemicA Blue Microphone. I need to start some type of podcast. The Nessie mic has built-in audio processing to give nice public-radio-resonance to your voice, or sharpness to your singing. I tried Nessie at the Blue Microphone booth, could only bring myself to read a paragraph of my novel. There is a difference between performing for a coffee shop crowd and for one saleslady.

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Me at MacWorld/iWorld this week

I have gone to MacWorld every year since before Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Now it is Macworld/iWorld. And it only fills the smaller hall of the two Moscone Convention Center halls. And it has a real indie flavor to it. Maybe a few too many booths selling iPhone and iPad cases. But I hope it keeps going. I still love it. Here are some highlights.

macworld-2014-scosche-chargers
macworld-2014-scoshe-and-meAt Scosche, I bought the reVOLT car charger and the reVOLT h2 wall charger, which should charge my iPad Air. Other dual USB port chargers can be sneaky: many claim to provide iPad power (10W or 2 amps), but plug in your phone at the same time and your iPad power goes bye-bye. Also, the charger and cable need to be Apple certified or they won’t work with an iPad: when I drove to MacWorld today, my cheap car charger on my iPad kept making the charger on-off-on-off musical note, hence I bought Scosche. I also bought a retractable audio cable and a smartSTRIKE microUSB and Lightning cable. The nice guy at the booth gave me Scosche earphones also. (Hmm, my Android phone takes blurry selfies and washes out display cards.)

I also bought book 2 and 3 of Kevin J McNeish’s iOS App Development for Non-Programmers iBooks. I bought the cool iPad-specialized editions with the nice embedded videos. Sweet! Kevin recommended I buy them at home with my fast WiFi. He was right, if I had bought them there, I’d be standing in dark Moscone, still downloading. As a tech writer who has documented a lot of APIs, I have studied some Objective C, and I have used Xcode. But I wanted cool ways to learn more. Now I got them.

Other stuff: Ring input device on kickstarter where you gesture midair to operate your devices (remember Ed from Cowboy Bebop?). Transporter: private cloud file sharing, very well done. Backblaze: unlimited cloud storage at $5 a month, such a deal. Drobo, for your BIG home storage needs. Grip&Shoot, a Bluetooth control handle/grip for your iPhone (and soon, for your Android phone). And iblazr, a four LED light/flash for your iPhone or Android phone, AND for my iPad, I believe! As Tony Stark said in the trailers for Iron Man 2 when he saw the Black Widow: I want one.

P.S. I handed out a few business cards. Yes, even here, tech writers are treated nicely.

P.P.S. I like having both Android and iOS, but I hope they put better cameras into the large screen Android phones soon. Or maybe I need to learn to use it better? Nah, I want a better camera!

P.P.P.S. A nice lady friend from a writer group did some editing on my Holly vs Karate Queen story. There, now I can add writer tags to this post!

Me at GDC last week

Dave-at-gdc-2014I went to see cool stuff, and to check on cool companies, who knows, make I’ll get a tech writing gig down the road. At the Intel booth, a couple of ladies put a cute cap on me and gave me a dolly and took my photo. They were fast and efficient and a little giggly.

Some companies did cross compilers for mobile, which I was very interested in, having documented that before. A nice guy at the Opera booth told me about Comic Book Resources after I handed him my business card with Holly on it. Yeah, at a gaming conference, that is appropriate. Hmm, what would Holly do in a video game? Box her way through super bullies to get to her beloved comics and coffee shop, maybe holding and not spilling a delicious iced mocha with her left hand while punching and jabbing with her right?

I am going to MacWorld/iWorld this week. It is smaller than it used to be, but it is still fun.

Writing to a Musical Muse

I did an open mic reading at the Peninsula Writers Club. The chapter in my novel where Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert experiences a 5D movie preview. 5D is two better that 3D! But Cal is a movie critic, and does not like 3D (Roger Ebert reasons). Then the 5D preview makes him LIVE the heartbreaking climax of Holly’s story, The Last Super. Anyway, I played music during the reading: Unchained Melody from the movie Ghost. A section in this chapter fit the beats and the emotion from that song. The small gathering of club members liked it.

I love music. Music has inspired lots of chapters in my novel. Music plays like a movie scene in my head. Holly’s fight with Dan Mann: Battle of the Heroes from Star Wars III. Holly’s fight with the hundred or so super soldiers: Burly Brawl from The Matrix Reloaded. Holly and Cal watching a sunset: So Much In Love by The Tymes. An angry and heartbroken Holly trying and failing to sleep: Last Night I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All by The 5th Dimension. I write a chapter more easily when a song has helped me see it. I have bought a LOT of music off iTunes to help me write.

However, a lot of music is owned by big corporations who are not going to share. So do not expect me to use my iTunes music in a podcast, or in anything even remotely professional, or at any gathering other than a very very small circle of friends or fans. I do not need a business that zealously defends the copyright to the Happy Birthday song sending lawyers to beat down my door.

Music can be a crutch. My writing must be strong enough to stand on its own, without music or my DRAMATIC performances. I am not gonna tell my readers that they have to buy and then play John Williams’s theme to Superman as they read my story. (Um, probably I won’t.) My short stories have NO music in mind. So far.

And consider this: real time and reading time do not match. In Storyist (the Mac and iPad app I use for my creative writing), each double-spaced, 12-point-courier-text page takes one and a half minutes to read out loud. Do you see the problem? Actions you imagine in music are hard to fit in text. Maxwell Alexander Drake said that you can speed action up, or slow it down, but you cannot read action at the same speed it happens in the real world. Oh, maybe if Holly punches a bad guy, I can write, “Holly punched him.” That’s boring, and it STILL takes too long. I could write “POW!” Not much better. (I’ll write later about superpowered sound effect words.) An early version of Holly’s fight with Dan Mann fit in the 3 1/2 Battle of the Heroes song, and I would never use that early version now. Short, dry, very little flowing prose to draw the reader in, and when my barber read it, he said, “This character Holly. What does she look like?” I was told my chapters read like screenplays. You need more than dialog and bits of action. You need description, feelings, emotions, thoughts, in other words, PROSE! You can match a text passage to a song, but do NOT stuff too many actions into that song’s short timespan!

I will continue to be inspired by music. But I cannot rely on songs to help me write or open-mic-read. (Oh, but I remember a reading where I used music, and the chapter had Holly so very heartbroken, and the open mic audience was RAPT. Boy, that felt good.)

P.S. I still wonder what it would cost to use music. Probably too much for me to consider it. Even if I say, hey readers, this is a cool song, run to iTunes and buy it cuz it is only a dollar! Maybe if I found indie music where I know the people who own it? Or maybe I just need to finish my novel (sound effects: my voice changes to Stewie Griffin), that novel I been working on for about five years now, that nnnnnnnnnovel …

Cinequest is over. Last movie bits.

littom-final-poster-web-readyFinal highlights. God, I love Cinequest.

Love In The Time Of Monsters: A delightful throwback to goofy cheap horror flicks of yesteryear, except in this case, the actors and actresses can act and get lotsa laughs. Killer zombies in bigfoot suits! One electrified zombie, funny how nobody thought of that before! A mutated moose! Tough sexy girls! A tuff old hermit! EEEEEVIL slimy squirrels with BIG NASTY MOUTHS! Dastardly ducks! Lots of laughs! This will wash that bitter, hating Paranormal Saw movie crap outta yer skull and replace it with fun, fun, FUN! Check their blog, uncleslavkosfuntimeblog.com, I’ll try to post there also and point here.

Cheatin’: I have followed Bill Plympton’s work for years and years. No dialogue, hand-drawn animation with Bill’s usual crazy surreal bendiness, and a smart story of love and heartbreak and revenge and crazy tech and a happy ending.

Slingshot: A documentary about Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) and his water purification device called the Slingshot. Inspiring. Heartwarming. Hopeful. Smart. Why can’t America admire scientists as much as athletes?

Blood Punch: Twisted and bloody and supernatural and funny and a hoot and a half! The guy and girl main characters are touching, the other male lead is a psycho who’ll make you laugh as he is killed, killed, killed. A smart, well-structured script that takes you for a looping ride.

Dom Hemingway: Jude Law as a larger than life loser, his own worst enemy, always fun to watch and to root for (no matter how nutzoid he gets) who finally finds what he really wants from life. Funniest and most human slo-mo crash I’ve seen in ages (Michael Bay and Matrix crashes are just noise by comparison).

Cinemaquest sci-fi

Some shorts worth mentioning that I saw at Cinemaquest.

I’m 23 and there’s a effing monster under my bed. (Okay, I cleaned up one word in the title.) What if monsters under the bed are real? Get a hot chick to help get rid of it, of course!

A stitch in time for $9.99. Witty slapstick about time travel and a lady more worried about a guy liking her than another urgent matter.

Shift. No dialog, great effects, perfect editing. I had to mention during Q&A that in comic books, someone invents a super-powerful device and instead of running to the patent office, he starts casing banks. (Although Shift gets around that loophole neatly.)

Park Arcadia. A dimension-hopping story with a strong female lead and San Jose settings.

I talked to James Croke, who made Shift. He has a couple of movie scripts optioned, I hope they get made! It was midnight when he, I, and a media lady I had met earlier in the week went to a bar. He told interesting stories over the usual music and crowd noise. I did not last long there, I am older. I was tired out the day after, so I stayed home and polished another Holly short story. Her fight with the deadly and boyfriend-stealing Karate Queen, who is loosely based on a writer/poet from the Peninsula Writers Club. I think she’ll help with the technical terms for karate blows. She showed me some blows a few weeks ago. On a punching bag, not on me, that would hurt some.

Going to Confession

miguel-ali-and-meConfessions of a Womanizer was rapid-fire funny, my kind of comedy. Had dozens upon dozens of funny ways to refer to sex, both the act and the body parts. Gary Busey was in this, and he is a HOOT. The lead actor plays another flawed guy (boy do I sense a pattern here, I am glad my superheroine Holly is flawed, Superboyscout, I mean Superman, can be a little boring). A flock of ladies  in the flick are great eye candy and turn in great performances, especially the cougar (RAWR!!!) and the Bella twins, twin sister pro wrestlers who do a GREAT acting job in this flick. There’s also a transgendered lady who provides laughs and some heartwarming.

That’s the director and writer next to me: Miguel Ali. Nice guy, and he writes well judging by this movie. During Q&A, I asked if the script was based on anything personal. He mentioned sex addiction therapy. Do writers need addictions? My Cousin Ben once asked me, “Dave. Do you drink?” Me: “No.” “Do you smoke?” “No.” “Do you do drugs?” “No.” “Dave, you’re a writer. Writers should have addictions.” I said, “I drink coffee.” Miguel has a nice wife (I know because I talked to her) and a sweet-natured 1.5 year old boy (I know because he smiled at me, and I think I got the boy’s age about right).

P.S. I STILL need to put my Holly story about her bad hair day on Amazon, but Cinequest is keeping me busy. Sometime next week. I really want that story out there so I can write more stories and finish that novel I been workin’ on, you know, that novel I been workin’ on for about, oh, five years now, that nnnnnnnnnovel? Okay, enough Stewie Griffin.